Homeless campsite on Recreation Avenue in Kelowna to be partially decommissioned | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Homeless campsite on Recreation Avenue in Kelowna to be partially decommissioned

These two tents, for warming and harm reduction, will be removed Monday from the Recreation Avenue homeless tent camp.
December 20, 2019 - 3:38 PM

The security company working at the Recreation Avenue homeless camp is not renewing its contract citing "unacceptable liability" so many of the facilities provided for the homeless are being removed.

“The lack of enhanced security support means most of the infrastructure that was added at Recreation Avenue will be removed on Monday morning,” a City of Kelowna news release issued today, Dec. 20, stated.

“As more infrastructure and services were added to the site in December, a new security company that has a staff made up of many former first responders was brought in because of the complex and challenging situations,” Darren Caul, the City’s community safety manager said in the release.

“On Wednesday, Dec. 18, the enhanced security firm contracted by the City advised it will not renew its contract effective Monday, Dec. 23, citing unacceptable liability,” the release states. “Without a security firm with enhanced skill to monitor the site and complexities of the infrastructure to support a diverse population, the current level of service at the site is no longer viable.”

The City said the warming tents and storage facilities will be removed from the Recreation Avenue site, while Interior Health will remove the harm reduction tent.

The toilets sharps disposal and garbage containers will remain at both City sanctioned camping sites. The fencing will remain at Recreation Avenue.

The sites will continue to be cleaned daily by a Parks Services contractor, the City said.

Camping will still be allowed at both site but campers will still be required to pack up their tents by 9 a.m. each morning and not set up again until 7 p.m.

Forty people moved into the Fuller Place bridge housing this week, freeing up beds in the Gospel Mission and Cornerstone shelters. Additional beds and matts will be added to those facilities to accommodate another 26 people.

The Welcome Inn emergency winter shelter is trying to open by Jan. 1 with 20 beds.

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